We rely on our wonderful volunteers for all our sessions to be successful, from instructors to rider helpers, sidewalkers to yard workers. Our volunteer base is around sixty people, and they help provide 100 regular riders with exercise, knowledge and enjoyment. Our sessions are geared towards the rider or group of riders’ ability, rather than their disability. During the course of a year, our Charity provides close to 2500 individual rides!
New volunteers are always welcome, as we can never have too many! Our sessions are Tuesday and Friday between 10am and 12pm during term time, and then Saturdays from 9.30am to 11.30am. Our volunteers usually choose which day they want to come but are welcome at any or all of our sessions.
The main role of our volunteers is to lead a pony and/or to walk at the side and support the rider. Those who wish to can come early to help get the ponies groomed and tacked up. We provide training but it is preferable to have some previous experience of horses so that you understand how they behave.
As well as helping within the riding sessions, our volunteers also get stuck in with a variety of other tasks – from building our ‘Countryside Challenge’ course to bag-packing at the local supermarket, there is always a task that needs an extra pair of hands! Volunteers assist in running and supporting our fundraising events, often bringing family and friends along as well to our popular Barn Dance and Race Night.
Volunteers need to be over 14 year old. There is no upper limit but please remember that you will have to keep up with the horse. Several of our younger volunteers have become involved as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award or the YELA (Young Equestrian Leaders Award) scheme.
Volunteering is also a great way to mix with other people and be involved in the local equestrian community – we even run fun events for our volunteers such as our annual BBQ.
We ask that potential volunteers contact our Charity organiser by phone on 07490 682429 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We then arrange a time for you to come to have a chat and a look around and see what we do. If you decide to go ahead we will give you a volunteer’s pack, which includes the volunteer application form and information about our Charity.
The application form asks you to provide two references and we have to take these up before a volunteer can start. You would then be required to bring in 3 pieces of identification and complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service). Don’t worry, we will talk you through all this! Although it sounds a lot the process is quite painless and after this you can join us as a volunteer.
Training is usually ‘on the job’ under the supervision of one of our coaches or our experienced volunteers. You will be asked to sign a training card as you go along.
Volunteers are also recognised for their efforts with the issue of Long Service Awards for 5, 10 and 15 years, then a jump to 25 and 30 years. We have a number of volunteers who have exceeded the 25 year mark, four of which have more than 30 years of service.
We are an extremely friendly and pro-active Charity within the Riding for the Disabled North West region – so give us a call and come and see what we do!